October 27, 2020

Being Church in a Pandemic: Worship at Home

Back: Jon McQuillin, Monte York Front: Diane Hymans, Kathy Carnahan

During the pandemic, four Broad Streeters who live at Ohio Living Westminster Thurber have been gathering for worship.  On Sundays at 1:30 p.m., they gather in Monte York’s apartment.  They wear masks and sit in a socially distanced way.  Together, they watch worship on Monte’s computer.


Monte York says,

When we went to online worship I knew Jon didn’t have a computer.  Since I do, and I was pretty sure I could make it work, I said, “Why don’t we have worship together?”  Jon agreed.  I was uncertain as to how well I could do it, so we decided to meet in the afternoon so I could have the electronics working.  At 1:30 we watch and then we sit around and visit.  It has become a nice social gathering of Presbyterians from Broad Street.  We’re adapting during the pandemic!


Jon McQuillin says,

There’s so much pleasure in seeing the inside of the church during worship.  We like to watch Jim Hildreth play the organ.  Sometimes the angle is such that we can see our seat in the pews.  We say, “There’s our seat!”


The online worship service is sustaining us spiritually. It is so good that some people might not want to go back to church!  We’re doing the right thing by being apart, but we sure miss the in-person worship service and the socializing.  We all want to get back to church, but we don’t want to get back too early.


On Communion Sundays I bring a small bottle of wine.  Diane brings the bread.  Monte provides the glasses.  And every Sunday I bring treats to enjoy after the church service – often Kellogg’s Special K Double Chocolate Protein meal bars, one for each person.  Monte makes tea.  Sundays are special.


Diane Hymans says,

Monte was watching the service alone on his computer.  Then he invited Jon.  Jon invited me.  Jon and I invited Kathy.  Now we all have our favorite chairs, just like at church!


We listen from the beginning announcements to the end of the postlude.  I’m hearing more than I would if I were listening at church, because there’s no socializing in the narthex!  I sit in the front row, and Kathy sits beside me.  Before prayer, when joys and concerns are on the screen, we all lean forward to read the names. “Do you know him?  “Do you know her?”


We’re very quiet during worship.  Afterwards we break the silence and visit.  Monte offers tea and Jon brings treats.  Being together keeps accountability and continuity.  We miss being at church, part of the whole congregation.  But this way we can see it; it is way in the distance, but we can see it.


Kathy Carnahan says,

Worshipping with Diane, Jon and Monte has been a wonderful experience; a gift!  It is a little like going home.  Having the three of them there is a tremendous gift.  And to be able to worship and feel the closeness of our pastors is sustaining.  In the midst of so many changes, church is the one thing I can step to and know it is there – seeing Amy and Ann and listening to their voices, and going through worship with them.  I feel protected and in familiar surroundings.  When I’m on my way to Monte’s it is like getting a little closer to God.


Are you worshipping alone or with someone else?  What have you found meaningful about online worship? Let us know in the comments.


You can find our most recent worship service on our YouTube channel.


–Written by Ann Palmerton



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  1. Betty Lou Stull October 28, 2020 at 9:32 am - Reply

    My granddaughter Claire comes from Mt. Vernont to Westerville every Sunday, mask in place, and we watch BSPC’s worship together. She is able to hook up her computer to my tv which gives a large picture. Then one of us picks up lunch from a local restaurant. We have our usual game of double solitaire and lots of conversation – her week, my week, family news, what we’re reading, etc. I look forward to this special time each week.
    Betty Lou Stull

  2. Rosemary October 28, 2020 at 9:54 am - Reply

    I love this story!
    Rod and I agree with so much of what Monte, Jon, Diane and Kathy have said. While we miss seeing people in person, we know online is the best way to care for each other for now. Listening to familiar voices and wonderful music is a blessing.

  3. Annette and Steve kuss October 28, 2020 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Steve snd I listen to and watch the weekly service on Utube on a big screen tv. Sound and picture are great. I have even noticed when we are watching outside on our porch that our neighbors are sometimes listening!❤️ I miss everyone but love this alternative to worship in our pjs with our favorite cup of coffee. Diet of like being on a retreat??!

  4. Nancy Hobe October 28, 2020 at 11:48 am - Reply

    I’m jealous!

  5. Martha Campbell October 28, 2020 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    This small gathering IS the church as in the hymn: I am the church, you are the church we are the church together—all who follow Jesus, all around the world we are the church together. There is no one way to be the church.

  6. Susan Toney October 28, 2020 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    How wonderful to read different ways people are worshipping; Ed and I sit in our easy chairs with Betty (our pug) and listen together. Betty especially likes listening to the sermon.

  7. Sharon walters October 28, 2020 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I’ve gone to church with my daughter who lives in California. Diane calls when she gets up and has her coffee and we sign into Facebook service at the same time. We can even chat during the music just like sitting next to each other in a pew.

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